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Essay on crimes and punishment
kind. This transaction is of the year 1632. Such was the necessary, and perhaps the only bond of all societies at their first formation. Sanctuaries, and impunity, differ only in degree, and as the effect of punishment depends more on their certainty, than their greatness, men are more strongly invited to crimes by sanctuaries, than they are deterred by punishment. What must we think of mankind when we reflect, that such is the established custom of the greatest part of our polished and enlightened Europe? Jesus Christ, who could have united all the faithful in the same sentiments, did it not; and therefore we may conclude that it was not his design; but that he chose rather to exercise all his churches in acts of indulgence and charity, by permitting. As to Priscilian, he had the consolation, after he was hanged, of being honoured by his sect as a martyr. Now there is no man, who, upon the least reflection, would put in competition the total and perpetual loss of his liberty, with the greatest advantages he could possibly obtain in consequence of a crime. They are known to one of the wisest monarchs in Europe, who, having seated philosophy on the throne, by his beneficent legislation, has made his subjects free, though dependent on the laws; the only freedom that reasonable men can desire in the present state. In this horrible confusion, each endeavoured to strengthen his party by every means in his power. It is strange, that the inhabitants of the capital should be subject to a severer law Edition: current; Page: 222 than the people in the country: but laws, like the cottages in a village, were generally established by accident, and without attention to the regularity. Cowardice, on the contrary, is a frequent self-interested, and contagious evil, which can never be improved into a virtue.
Essay on crimes and punishment
What a labyrinth of absurdities! Many writers have shown the evident disorder which must arise from not distinguishing the punishment due to robbery with violence, and that due to theft, or robbery committed with dexterity, absurdly making a sum of money equivalent to a mans life. Besides, as pecuniary punishment may increase the number of poor, and may deprive an innocent family of subsistence, the most proper punishment will be that kind of slavery, which alone can be called just; that is, which makes the society, for a time, absolute master. I am sensible, that to develop the sentiments of ones own heart, is an art which education only can teach; but although a villain may not be able to give a clear account of his principles, they nevertheless influence his conduct. This was his crime. Pleasure and pain are the only springs of action in beings endowed with sensibility. A punishment, to be just, should have only that degree of severity which is sufficient to deter others. In short, when inferior courts have judged according to the letter of the law, which possibly may be rigorous, the council mitigates the sentence according to the true spirit of all laws, which teaches, never to sacrifice a man, but in evident necessity.
Dostoyevsky's writing shows insight into the human mind that is at once frightening and frighteningly real. Laws are the conditions under which men, naturally independent, united themselves in society. Pro qualitate person, quoque rei conditione et temporis et tatis et sexus, vel clementius statuendum. His first follies indeed were innocent. Yet another method of preventing crimes is, to reward virtue. It is upon this, then, that the sovereigns right to punish crimes is founded; that is, upon the necessity of defending how to make school more interesting essay the public liberty, intrusted to his care, from the usurpation of individuals; and punishments are just in proportion as the liberty, preserved by the. It is even possible that she might intend to return and provide for it; a sentiment so natural in the breast of a mother, that it ought to be presumed. It is indeed one of the noblest prerogatives of the throne, but, at the same time, a tacit disapprobation of the laws. He spoke against Christianity, and afterwards retracted all he had said, and even wrote his confession of faith, to escape punishment; but the unhappy persuasion of his heart would not permit him to sign.